Saturday, October 23, 2010

General update from BWoH

Little has been done here at the Backwoods of hell. The final excavation was supposed to be done this week, but as is usual in this area not only did it not happen, but I have not heard a word from Captain Rob the backhoe operator. Adding to the frustration has been the weather, which has been unusually hot and dry. All of Rancher Bob's grass dried up in the pastures and so he has me feeding out hay while he is out of town working. This also effects the garden naturally, which was pretty well dead by the time I returned, as no one here was taking care of it. Still that neglect may turn into a small benefit as onions and potatoes left unharvested, have with the hot weather decided to put out again. If it stays warm for just a bit longer I will be able to get some small potatoes and onions just in time for the soups of winter.

The persimmons have been the best ever this year. Though there has been no frost yet, they are sweet without any hint of the astringency which would normally present itself. I've spent a couple of afternoons eating as many as I could reach that were ripe, giving myself an all natural sugar high.

Foraging has been very limited as well given the lack of rain. I've managed to find a few wild mustards and radishes in Rancher Bob's yard (it gets watered) but the fruit of the passion flower vine was almost a complete no show. I was able to enjoy only one of these, and it was certainly sub par. In fact the foraging is so bad I am seriously considering setting up the contraption that Rancher Bob bought, but has never used, that is supposed to make cracking black walnuts easy. I suspect that "easy" is a very relative term.

No muscadines for wine this year either. They put out a little fruit, but not enough to bother picking beyond just a few nibbles here and there. Strangely though the pear trees did produce fruit, a hard fruit with very little sweetness which is unpleasant to even try to eat. No one around here eats them. Still, rather than let those pears go to waste I am trying an experiment with making cider. We'll see in a month or so how that turned out.

I am trying to stay positive through all of the delays and tribulations in this effort to set up a modest underground homestead, and it is nights such as tonight that certainly help. As I am typing this, I am sitting outside my temporary (well it is *supposed* to be temporary!) home (ratty travel trailer) in a comfortable chair, sipping some unusual local wine (well if 3-4 hours away is local..) watching the thunderstorms over the mountains giving the much needed moisture close, if not here yet. There is hope and a forecast of a good chance of rain later tonight...

So as long as there is light I will enjoy the light show, return to studying aspects of homesteading (currently permaculture and and footings for underground homes..), all the while hoping to get the rain which will force me inside.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Made a run into the Springs yesterday, enjoying the dappled shade of the autumnal trees, and the somewhat cooler temperatures of fall. Normally I really loathe driving, but this was one of those rare times that it was a damn great drive..

More chores for Rancher Bob, feeding cows, keeping everything together..

The garden is struggling in this dry weather, no rain for a month and little chance in the foreseeable future.

Guess I will have to simply sit back and enjoy the persimmons..

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Breaking the silence

I realize that it has been a while since I posted, and for that I apologize. I'd like to blame it on being busy, and traveling, and several other excuses, all of which are true, but the primary cause was lack of something about which I wished to write.

I am back in the BWoH, waiting for the backhoe for the last little bit of dirt work before I can build.. I swear that I won't rely upon anyone else for the rest of the build because of these delays...

In the meantime I've been foraging as best as I can, including some wild mustards and radishes, American Beauty Berry, persimmons, passion vine fruits, and anything else I can find. I've put up gallons of chicken stock, several pounds of catfish, several pounds of an italian meat sauce, as well as some pureed pears which will become cider in the near future..

Not wanting to be completely unproductive with regard to the homestead, I've been working on ways to lift the main girders (2' x 30' oak timbers) into place 15 feet in the air... I believe that I have figured out a solution, though not an elegant one as it requires rolling the timbers down the header of the top wall... Tricky, dangerous and perhaps a bad idea, but it is the best I have come up with so far.

It is terribly dry here, and there is no rain in the forecast, so foraging is poor and the garden all but dead.

That's the news from BWoH for now..